Best ebike for commuting
You’ve probably heard of the word, Schadenfreude?
Well, I have to admit to feelings of Schadenfreude on my daily commute. Does that make me a Schadenfreud-ist…?
Anyway, there’s nothing that gives me a warm inner glow more than the smug feeling I get as I cruise into work on my ebike.
I speed past all of the car commuters cooped up in their tin cans. Laughing as I see them hunched over, gripping the steering wheel tightly, with a scowl on their faces.
What a way to start the morning! Or, kick off the evening, for that matter.
I used to be one of them. Sat, sweating in the car (the air-con never worked properly), bumper-to-bumper with the car in front and the car behind. A car on my left and, if I was really lucky, a school bus on my right with a bunch of kids pulling faces at me. Ah, the joy….
I thought that my commute to work was way more than average and just not possible to do with pedal power alone. But then a few things changed my perspective.
Quick Answer: Schwinn Sycamore Hybrid Electric Bicycle
Firstly, I found out that my journey was actually pretty standard for a lot of people. And, secondly, I started researching electric bikes and saw that they could do plenty of the work for me and get me to work fast and save my legs.
More recently, I also saw this article, about Dutchman Marc Dekker, who commutes 40 miles EACH WAY on his ebike every day. That’s fairly extreme, but it goes to show that anything is possible and electric bikes are making commuting easier, healthier and more rewarding.
Want to know how your commute compares to other US states? Here are a couple of charts showing those with the furthest and shortest average commutes.
Top 10 US states with longest commute distance
|State||1-way Commute (median/miles)|
Top 10 US states with shortest commute distance
|State||1-way Commute (median/miles)|
Data from Commutes Across America report
How far is too far to bike to work?
So, how does your commute stack up with these?
The most interesting aspect for me is that all of these commutes are totally achievable on an ebike.
Many can be done with a single daily battery charge (or even less). All are possible if you have the opportunity to give your battery a top-up at the office whilst you look forward to your return journey (and maybe do a bit of work…)
In this article, I’m going to go over a few of the main things to think about in choosing an ebike for your commute. I’ll then give you some recommendations of my favorite ebikes, in a range of different styles, that are ideal for getting you to the office.
Finally, I’ll sum up by telling you to stop procrastinating, go buy yourself an ebike, and change your life from one of car-commute-hell to healthy-happy-and-very-smug electric bike commuting.
Think you can handle that? Then, let’s make a start.
How to choose an ebike
Let’s take a quick look at some important considerations for your new commuter ebike.
The style of ebike you choose will depend to a large extent on the type of terrain you’ll be commuting in to work on.
If you’re traveling along smooth roads, then an upright style bike with a high riding position is ideal. Other road users will easily be able to see you. Why is that important? Because you want to make sure that they have a clear unimpeded view of your smug expression as you cruise past them. LOL.
If your commute involves some off-road sections, then a mountain bike with suspension and rugged tires will work best.
Finally, if you’re lucky enough to live near the beach, then maybe you can dodge the cars altogether by commuting on an electric beach cruiser. Just remember to pack the laptop for the weekdays and save the surfboard for the weekend.
2. Battery Life
Many bikes have at least 20 miles of pedal-assist juice in the battery and so should be able to power you to work and back.
If you find that the battery can’t quite go the distance, then you have a couple of easy options.
The simplest is to top up the battery during the workday at your office. This works best if your bike battery is removable from the bike as you only have to take that up with you, rather than wheeling the entire bike.
If you get any angst from the boss for using company electricity, you might want to let them know that it only costs around 5 cents to fully charge a bike battery. Not exactly going to break the bank, is it?
More details on battery charging in my other article, here.
If charging at work isn’t an option, then with many bikes you can buy a second battery. These can be pricey (in the region of $600), but they give you the ability to charge both up at home, giving you the power to get to work and back.
3. Secure storage at the office
Make sure that you have a secure location to keep your ebike at work.
Leaving a bike propped up against the side of the building might be fine if it’s a old rusty heap. But for your new shiny electric bike, you’ll ideally want an indoor secured space and certainly a good quality bike lock. This one is a great option for leaving at the office.
Bike Kit That You Will Need
As well as a bike lock, you’ll also need to get some other essentials:
(i) Bike Helmet
Probably the most important is a helmet. Like me, I’m sure you’ll have spent your childhood riding round on your bike with nothing more protective on your head than a baseball cap. These days you’ve probably noticed that we’re a bit more safety conscious and kids will all be wearing bike helmets.
Same goes for you, now that you’re a responsible adult. Particularly as you’ll now be dodging round cars, buses and trucks on your work commute. Some countries and states stipulate that you have to wear a helmet to ride. My personal view is that you’ve got one head, it’s arguably one of the most important parts of your body, so take care of it by wearing a helmet when you ride.
Here’s a solid option from Schwinn that will help keep you safe on the roads.
(ii) Storage on your bike
If you need to take work stuff to and fro, then you’ll need to have some storage on your ebike.
Some ebikes come with baskets and racks already fitted. Other times you will need to add these on.
What you need will depend on what you have to take into work with you. It might be your lunch, maybe a change of clothes, possibly a laptop and a stack of highly confidential files.
Take a look at my article here, which gives details of some of the best options and the important aspects to consider when making a decision on this.
Ok, let’s move on now and look at my recommended ebikes for daily commuting.
Best commuter ebike?
The Schwinn Sycamore is a fantastic value bike.
It has an upright riding position, which is great if you suffer from wrist pain like me.
This bike is ideal for comfortably cruising along quiet back roads and cycle paths as you head into work.
Look under the hood though and you’ll also see that it’s got some quality features:
- Front suspension to smooth out the bumps in the road
- Powerful front and rear disc brakes to stop you quickly and keep you safe
- 350W rear wheel motor to get you easily up those hills without raising a sweat
- Comfy seat and handlebar grips
- Removable battery so you can top it up at work
Whilst it doesn’t have luggage racks pre-fitted, there’s plenty of space to do so. I’ve been trying out a great rear rack like this one recently. I’ve found previously that some racks have a tendency to bash against your heels as you pedal, but there’s obviously no problems like that with this one as it keeps everything well away from your feet.
Team it up with a quick-release bag like this and you’ve got streamlined storage for everything you need.
This is an excellent bike for riders who are new to ebiking, from a company that has been building bikes since 1895. Which my kids will be amazed to hear is even before I was born. Wow.
The polished stainless steel frame adorned with Italian leather accessories make this possibly the most stylish thing ever on two wheels.
Forget about the garish spandex, the Retro S is a thing of beauty that is made for commuting into work on whilst wearing your finest Italian suit.
It’s also got the tech to complement the style, just take a look:
- 350W motor that delivers up to 25 miles of travel
- Super light frame at only 46 lbs – ideal for when you need to load it onto a bike rack or carry it up to your apartment (you know, so you can sit and admire it in the evening)
- Fast charging battery – 3-4 hrs to fully charged, so you can easily top it up during the workday
This folding electric bike is great if your travel to work includes public transport like trains or buses.
It’s also practical for easy storage once you get home.
The battery is stored on the front handlebars, so bear in mind that this reduces the amount of storage space you have to play with. But for the price, this is a very good bike for a daily commute, particularly those with some rough tracks.
- A No-frills spec to keep the price affordable makes this a great first ebike
- The 250W motor gives up to 31 miles of travel between charging
- Unique molded wheels a great feature which means that there’s no chance of busting a spoke miles from a bike shop
Low-step or step-through bike frames were designed originally for ladies wearing skirts. So they’re perfect if you’re heading off to work in a skirt suit or dress.
Frankly, they’re also great for anyone (myself included!) who isn’t as supple as they’d like to be and struggles to swing their leg over a high crossbar.
The Nakto comes with a range of nice-to-haves as standard including a useful front basket and rear rack
It has an upright riding position which can be great for relieving pressure on sensitive wrists and hands
Fantastic value. Long list of accessories. Ideal for both men and women. What more could anyone want?
Best e bikes for commuting
With improvements in battery life and more availability of good quality, affordable electric bikes, ebike commuting is now an easy option.
So, like I said at the top of the page, stop procrastinating. You know that an ebike is the right option for you.
Pick any of the bikes above, buy it along with a decent cycle helmet. Leave the car at home, and cruise in to the office with a massive grin on your face as you laugh at all the car commuters stuck, going nowhere fast, in their sweaty tin cans.
Schadenfreude. We love it.